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SPORTS DIGEST: Loss to Falcons is Fisher’s finale with Rams

The writing on the wall could no longer be ignored.

The Rams were circling the drain in their first season back in Los Angeles and the fans who had waited for their return for 21 years were fed up with it.

Eight losses in nine games after a 3-1 start had Rams fans voicing their displeasure in two ways: first they booed loudly. Then they got up and left the overcast stadium that was a lot gloomier than the weather outside.

By the time the game against the Atlanta Falcons ended with the Rams on the short end of a 42-14 score, the Coliseum looked like it did when the Los Angeles Express, the old United States Football League team, played there in the mid-1980s. Three-quarters empty.

Thus, it was no surprise that the Rams fired head coach Jeff Fisher Dec. 12. That move isn’t going to salvage a season that has descended into the depths that old Rams fans from the 1990s remembered too well.

What it did, though, was appease the fans who had grown tired of Fisher’s conservative offense and his feud with Eric Dickerson.

The Rams front offense gambled that Fisher’s familiarity with coaching a franchise that had switched cities — he coached the Houston Oilers before they moved to Memphis and then Nashville in Tennessee — would make this transition season smoother. The move went well. The play on the field, not so much.

Fisher isn’t the only person to blame and I would wager that general manager Ed Snead will be shown the door Jan. 2, the day after the Rams finish the season.

The Rams have been a team stuck in a rut for several years. Fisher has had five years to get them out of that rut and all he has done is strung enough losses together so he is now tied for the most losses by an NFL coach in history.

George Halas coached the Chicago Bears for 44 years and only lost 148 games. Fisher has lost 165 in 22 years.

So it was time for Fisher to go. Snead should be next and owner Stan Kroenke and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff need to find someone who can turn this organization around fast, before people find other ways of spending that money they are saving for personal seat licenses come 2019 when the new Inglewood stadium opens.

This being Los Angeles, fans have stars in their eyes and hope that Kroenke’s money can attract University of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh or former Raider coach Jon Gruden.

I would be happy to see Kyle Shanahan or Josh McDaniel hired, two young offensive coordinators who have shown they can tutor young quarterbacks.

The Rams gave up six draft picks for Jared Goff last spring. They are too invested in him to not find someone who can coach him up as they say.

The nucleus on defense is there. Todd Gurley and Tavon Austin are talented offensive performers. But the Rams need help on the offensive line and they need a coach who can pull everything together.

Jeff Fisher was no longer getting the job done and so he had to go.

That’s how it goes in star-struck Los Angeles.

THE END IS NEAR: The high school football season ends Dec. 17 with St. John Bosco playing Concord De La Salle for the state open division championship at Sacramento State University. Kickoff is at 8 p.m.

The St. John Bosco Braves from Bellflower have a record of 12-2 on the season and are the top ranked team in the state and ranked number two in the nation by MaxPreps. The Concord De La Salle Spartans are 11-1, ranked fifth in the state and 22nd in the nation.

The Braves average 44 points a game on offense, while the Spartans average 37, but the Spartans have a better defense, yielding 12.5 points a game to the Braves 18.

The teams played one common opponent this year, Servite of Anaheim. Concord De La Salle edged the Friars, 28-27 Sept. 9. St. John Bosco spanked them, 70-6 four weeks later.

The Braves run a wide open offense that can move the ball on the ground and in the air. The Spartans do most of their damage on the ground.

Running back Kairee Robinson averages 166 yards rushing a game for the Spartans.

Terrance Beasley averages 98 yards per game rushing for the Braves.

Quarterback Re-al Mitchell throws for 195 yards per game for the Braves and averages another 73 yards on the ground.

The Braves are the last team standing among area football teams.

All three L.A. City teams that advanced to the state regional playoffs last week were defeated.

Narbonne lost to Cathedral Catholic of San Diego, 35-28 in the Division 1AA semifinal, Los Angeles High fell to Sierra Canyon, 21-6 in the Division 2A semifinal and Franklin lost to Rancho Christian, 56-21 in Division 6AA.

Former St. John Bosco star Isaac Hamilton is the leading scorer for the 10-0 UCLA Bruins, who are now the ranked number two in the nation. The Bruins defeated Michigan, 102-84, Dec. 10. (Photo courtesy of UCLA Basketball)

Former St. John Bosco star Isaac Hamilton is the leading scorer for the 10-0 UCLA Bruins, who are now the ranked number two in the nation. The Bruins defeated Michigan, 102-84, Dec. 10. (Photo courtesy of UCLA Basketball)

COLLEGE HOOPS: The number two UCLA basketball team continued its undefeated season Dec. 10 with a 102-84 win over Michigan, a game that had Pauley Pavilion rocking like the good old days of Bruins basketball.

The Bruins didn’t play well in the first half and had to rally to tie the Wolverines 50-50 at halftime. The Bruins then dominated the second half.

Michigan entered the game giving up only 58 points a game, but couldn’t slow the Bruins down. The Bruins are 10-0 and face Ohio State Dec. 17 in a neutral site game in Las Vegas.

They enter that game averaging 97 points a game with six players averaging more than 10 points a game and four players averaging 15 points or more.

Senior swingman Isaac Hamilton from St. John Bosco is leading the way, averaging 17.7 points a game, followed closely by freshman forward TJ Leaf at 17.6 points per game.

Bryce Alford, who has moved from point guard to shooting guard this year, is averaging 15.6 points per guard and freshman sensation Lonzo Ball is averaging 15 points a game along with 8.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds.

The Bruins open Pac 12 play Dec. 28 against Oregon.

Former Westchester High standout Elijah Stewart is leading the way for the USC Trojans this season, averaging 17.1 points a game. The Trojans are 9-0 and ranked 24th in the Associated Press poll. (Photo courtesy of USC Basketball)

Former Westchester High standout Elijah Stewart is leading the way for the USC Trojans this season, averaging 17.1 points a game. The Trojans are 9-0 and ranked 24th in the Associated Press poll. (Photo courtesy of USC Basketball)

The USC Trojans are quietly putting together a fine season of their own. The Trojans are now 9-0 and cracked the Top 25 in the Associated Press poll this week after defeating Pepperdine, 93-67, Dec. 11.

Former Westchester High standout Elijah Stewart is leading the Trojans in scoring, averaging 17.1 points a game. Four other Trojans average more than 10 points a game with Jordan McLaughlin, Shaqquan Aaron and Chimezie Metu bunched together at 12.6, 12.4 and 12.3, respectively.

The Trojans open Pac 12 play Dec. 28 against Oregon State.

Tiger Woods announced Dec. 13 he would at Riviera Country Club for the first time since 2006. The Genesis Open will be held Feb. 13-19 at Riviera. (Courtesy photo)

Tiger Woods announced Dec. 13 he would at Riviera Country Club for the first time since 2006. The Genesis Open will be held Feb. 13-19 at Riviera. (Courtesy photo)

THE RETURN OF TIGER: Though he was raised in Southern California and made his PGA Tour debut in 1992 at the Los Angeles Open Golf Tournament, Tiger Woods normally skips the annual tournament at Riviera Country Club in the Pacific Palisades.

Not this year, Woods announced Dec. 13 he would play in what is now known as the Genesis Open Feb. 13-19.

Last March, Woods’ foundation, the PGA Tour and Genesis announced a partnership under which Wood’s company, TGR Live, would manage the tournament at Riviera.

Woods hasn’t played at Riviera since 2006.

“This is where it all started for me. It was my first PGA Tour event, I was 16 years old, I weighed about 105 pounds, and it was a life-changing moment for me,” he said in a statement. “It’s an honor to have TGR Live running this historic event that will benefit my foundation.”

Woods has not announced his 2017 playing schedule aside from the Genesis Open.

He played his first four rounds of competitive golf since August 2015 earlier this month in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

He had an up-and-down tournament, ultimately finishing 15th out of 18 golfers in the tournament that TGR also manages.

Tickets to the tournament are on sale at GenesisOpen.com/Tickets.

 

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